Mom says local grade school's active shooter drill traumatized child


by Staff

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 10:23 AM

 (KMOV) – A Cahokia mother said a school drill aimed at saving lives traumatized her child. She wants the district to make changes because the drill was too intense for young children.

A’Lia Burrell is a third-grader at Penniman Elementary School. She didn’t understand that Wednesday’s “code red” was just a drill.

"While we were under the computers, I uh started to pray,” said Burrell.

“With all the stuff going on now a day I understand they need drills, but there's a better way to go about it,” said Burrell’s mother, Jackie. "Now she doesn't want to go to school and she’s scared.. When I came walking in the door earlier she said I thought you were an intruder.. that's really affecting her right now.”

She wants the district to dial it back for younger students and let parents know in advance. A’Lia told her, the police resource officer said something very disturbing.

"One of our school people said they are killing that way,” said Burrell.

Cahokia Superintendent Art Ryan was not at the school for the drill. But after News 4 called, he asked the principal about this.

“I talked to the principal and she was with the resource officer the whole time and there was not a statement of anything like that,” said Ryan.

He said in this day and age, he stands behind the intensity of the drill.

“The kids need to be prepared for an extreme circumstance so maybe have the drill be a little on the extreme side doesn't hurt,” said Ryan. “I do understand your concerns about the age of the children, I’d much rather your children be a little bit scared and alive, than not knowing what to do and end up being hurt."

Drills like this one are mandated in both Illinois and Missouri along with tornado and fire drills.